2080.) Isaiah 6

April 21, 2017
"Isaiah 6" by Jennifer Thomas

“Isaiah 6” by Jennifer Thomas

Isaiah 6   (ESV)

Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord

In the year that King Uzziah died

King Uzziah of Judah had a long and distinguished reign, described in 2 Chronicles 26 and in 2 Kings 15:1-7 (Uzziah is called Azariah in 2 Kings 15).

Uzziah began his reign when he was only 16 years old, and he reigned 52 years. Overall, he was a good king, and 2 Kings 15:3 says, he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 2 Chronicles 28:5 says, He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.

Uzziah also led Israel in military victories over the Philistines and other neighboring nations, and he was a strong king. Uzziah was a energetic builder, planner, and general. 2 Chronicles 26:8 says, His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he strengthened himself exceedingly.

But Uzziah’s life ended tragically. 2 Chronicles 26:16 says, But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. In response, God struck Uzziah with leprosy, and he was an isolated leper until his death.

So, to say in the year King Uzziah died is to say a lot. It is to say, “In the year a great and wise king died.” But it is also to say, “In the year a great and wise king who had a tragic end died.” Isaiah had great reason to be discouraged and disillusioned at the death of King Uzziah, because a great king had passed away, and because his life ended tragically. Where was the Lord in all this? . . .

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne,

. . . The Lord was still enthroned in heaven, and was still in charge of all creation.  Isaiah may have been depressed or discouraged because a great leader of Judah was no longer on the throne. God in heaven now shows Isaiah, “Don’t worry about it, Isaiah. Uzziah may not be on his throne, but I am on My throne.”

–David Guzik

high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

Four wings for devotion, two wings for service. It is an interesting proportion for us to consider in our own lives, I think.

And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Isaiah’s Commission from the Lord

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah emphatically answered God’s call. He did not hesitate. Isaiah wanted to be the answer to God’s question.

What created this kind of heart in Isaiah? First, he had a heart that had been in the presence of God. He had a heart that knew its own sinfulness. He had a heart that knew the need among the people, the need for God’s word. He had a heart that had been touched by God’s cleansing fire. And he had a heart that heard God’s heart to reach the nations.

–David Guzik

And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

I6 hard heart

Their hearts were hardened toward God. As one hears the Word of God today, it always accomplishes one of two things:  either a drawing to God and learning to love and serve Him better, or a further hardening and rejection. We are either better for having heard God’s Word, or worse. The process of hardening of the heart is not a mystery nor is it a miracle enacted by God, but a natural process begun and carried on and completed by the sinner himself. It is produced by repeated neglect of truths and shunning God’s calling through His Holy Spirit. Hard hearts are a serious matter!

–N. E. Constance

11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
without inhabitant,
and houses without people,
and the land is a desolate waste,
12 and the Lord removes people far away,
and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.

The chapter closes with a promise:  a remnant will survive the judgment.

13 And though a tenth remain in it,
it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak,
whose stump remains
when it is felled.”
The holy seed is its stump.

When Isaiah saw the Lord, who did he see? He saw God in the Second Person of the Trinity, he saw Jesus before He added humanity to His deity. We know this because the Apostle John quotes Isaiah 6:10, and under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, adds: These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him (John 12:41).

–David Guzik

The Prophet

by Alexander Pushkin / translated by Ted Hughes

Crazed by my soul’s thirst
Through a dark land I staggered.
And a six-winged seraph
Halted me at a crossroads.
With fingers of dream
He touched my eye-pupils.
My eyes, prophetic, recoiled
Like a startled eaglet’s.
He touched my ears
And a thunderous clangour filled them,
The shudderings of heaven,
The huge wingbeat of angels
The submarine migration of sea-reptiles
And the burgeoning of the earth’s vine.
He forced my mouth wide,
Plucked out my own cunning
Garrulous evil tongue,
And with bloody fingers
Between my frozen lips
Inserted the fork of a wise serpent.
He split my chest with a blade,
Wrenched my heart from its hiding,
And into the open wound
Pressed a flaming coal.
I lay on stones like a corpse.
There God’s voice came to me:
Stand, Prophet, you are my will.
Be my witness. Go
Through all seas and lands. With the Word
Burn the hearts of people.

_________________________

Music:

Click  HERE  to hear  “Lift Up Your Eyes,” a song based on Isaiah chapter 6, by Planet Shakers.  Planet Shakers is a youth movement that began as an annual conference and grew into a ministry and church in Melbourne, Australia.

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Images courtesy of:
by Thomas.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/i6-jennifer-thomas.jpg
seraphim.   http://stjohnmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/Seraphim1.jpg
Here I am.   http://www.spiritoflifeav.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SEND-ME.jpg
hard heart.   http://www.deebrestin.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/heart-of-stone2.jpg
the prophet, the angel, the coals.   https://220lily.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/isaiah-angel-coal.jpg.

2079.) Isaiah 5

April 20, 2017
"The Vineyard" by Donn Ziebel

“The Vineyard” by Donn Ziebell

Isaiah 5   (ESV)

The Vineyard of the Lord Destroyed

Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:

Isaiah sings a song for his Lord.

My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.

And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,

(like obedience, thanksgiving, love, worship, service)

why did it yield wild grapes?

(like disobedience, rebellion, idolatry)

And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
but behold, bloodshed;
for righteousness,
but behold, an outcry!

I5 grapes

Matthew 21:33-44  (NIV)

“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

“The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

Woe to the Wicked

First woe:  Covetous landowners who try to corner the real estate market till there is an acute shortage of houses and land, yet the owners dwell in solitary splendor.

Woe to those who join house to house,
who add field to field,
until there is no more room,
and you are made to dwell alone
in the midst of the land.
The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
“Surely many houses shall be desolate,
large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”

 

Second woe:  Confirmed alcoholics who imbibe from morning till night. They feast and carouse in total disregard of God and His works. It is for this kind of unthinking behavior that the exile is drawing near. God will be vindicated by His righteous judgment when foreign bedouin shepherds feed their flocks in the ruins of Israel.

11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
that they may run after strong drink,
who tarry late into the evening
as wine inflames them!
12 They have lyre and harp,
tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
or see the work of his hands.

13 Therefore my people go into exile
for lack of knowledge;
their honored men go hungry,
and their multitude is parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
and opened its mouth beyond measure,
and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down,
her revelers and he who exults in her.
15 Man is humbled, and each one is brought low,
and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.
16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice,
and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
17 Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture,
and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.

Third woe:  Brazen liars and God-defiers who are hitched to sin and drag guilt and punishment after them.  They challenge God to hasten with the punishment He has threatened on them.

18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19 who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!

Fourth woe:  Those who obliterate moral distinctions, denying the difference between good and evil.

20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!

Fifth woe:  Conceited men who cannot be told anything.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!

Sixth woe:  Judges who are heroes at drinking and who pervert justice through accepting bribes.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!

24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

These wicked men who have no respect for the Word of God will be devoured like grass in a prairie fire.

26 He will raise a signal for nations far away,
and whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
27 None is weary, none stumbles,
none slumbers or sleeps,
not a waistband is loose,
not a sandal strap broken;
28 their arrows are sharp,
all their bows bent,
their horses’ hoofs seem like flint,
and their wheels like the whirlwind.
29 Their roaring is like a lion,
like young lions they roar;
they growl and seize their prey;
they carry it off, and none can rescue.
30 They will growl over it on that day,
like the growling of the sea.
And if one looks to the land,
behold, darkness and distress;
and the light is darkened by its clouds.

God whistles and the Babylonian army comes! See their troops approaching — in top physical condition, perfectly uniformed, well armed. The horses and chariots approach fast and furiously. It is a dark day for Judah.

–all comments in blue by William MacDonald

_________________________

Music:

As I read of the failings of the people of Judah, I hear this sad song in my mind:  “Days of Wine and Roses” sung by Andy Williams.  Click  HERE  to listen.

Days of Wine and Roses (1962) is a film directed by Blake Edwards, with music by Henry Mancini, and features Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick.  The film depicts the downward spiral of two average Americans who succumb to alcoholism and attempt to deal with their problem.

An Academy Award went to the film’s theme music, composed by Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer.  The film received four other Oscar nominations, including ones for Best Actor and Best Actress.

Today, Days of Wine and Roses is required viewing in many alcoholic and drug rehabilitation clinics across America.

–Wikipedia

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Ziebell.   http://www.yurart.com/images/isaiah5sun400.jpg
grapes.    http://www.iment.com/maida/familytree/henry/bios/images/grapes-purple.jpg
money for more houses.   http://news.myestatepoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2015_11image_12_32_203531198real-ll.jpg
chained to the drink.   https://www.discoveryplace.info/sites/default/files/alcoholic.jpg
sin can tie up your life.   http://www.christianitycove.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sin-bible-object-lesson.jpg
good or evil.   http://msbisonline.edublogs.org/files/2012/10/good-vs-evil-16rul82.jpg?w=240
Proverbs 26:12.  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/6f/f7/f2/6ff7f2127b84b1d81d4486151a929f4e.jpg
corrupt judges.    http://www.pacourtwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Corrupt-Judges.jpg

2074.) Isaiah 4

April 13, 2017

I4 branch

Isaiah 4   (ESV)

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”

The Branch of the Lord Glorified

In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious,

This image is repeated in Isaiah 11:1 :  There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

It is repeated in Jeremiah 23:5 : “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.”

It is repeated in Jeremiah 33:15 : In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

It is repeated in Zechariah 3:8 : For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch.

The ideas behind the title Branch of the LORD are those of fruitfulness and life. Jesus used the same image when He said that He was the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5).

–David Guzik

and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.

“Sin is the excrement of the soul, the superfluity or garbage of naughtiness, the devil’s vomit. From this abominable filth Christ hath ‘loved and washed his with his own blood, that he may make them kings and priests unto God and his Father.’”

–John Trapp (1601-1669)

Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Surely these word pictures would bring to their minds stories of old, when their ancestors lived in the wilderness and worshiped in the Tabernacle, with God’s cloud of smoke and pillar of fire guiding them. The visible presence of God protected them then, and the Messiah —  God with us — will come to bring peace again.

_________________________

Music:

Yes, we want such a Lord and such a King!  HERE  is “Give Me Jesus,” sung by Jeremy Camp.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Jeremiah 23:5.    http://thetruenorth.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/14jer-23-5.jpg

2073.) Isaiah 3

April 12, 2017

I3 eat

Isaiah 3   (ESV)

Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem

For behold, the Lord God of hosts
is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,

The Lord will take away from Judah and Jerusalem their supporting pillars, leading the country to further ruin.  The things they trusted in would fail them, for they are not trusting in the Lord.

all support of bread,
and all support of water;

bread and water = all economic resources

the mighty man and the soldier,

mighty man and soldier = defense of the country

the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,

judge, prophet, diviner, and elder = civil and spiritual leadership

the captain of fifty
and the man of rank,
the counselor and the skillful magician (NASB reads “artisan”)
and the expert in charms.

captains and men of rank, counselors and men with skill and expertise in craft = further leadership

And I will make boys their princes,
and infants shall rule over them.
And the people will oppress one another,
every one his fellow
and every one his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
and the despised to the honorable.

The best rulers will be taken away and the responsibility of the government would be left in the hands of the young and inexperienced. This will lead to a breakdown of order in society.

For a man will take hold of his brother
in the house of his father, saying:
“You have a cloak;
you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
shall be under your rule”;

“You have a cloak” — the smallest qualification will be enough for leadership.

in that day he will speak out, saying:
“I will not be a healer;
in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
you shall not make me
leader of the people.”

The situation will be so desolate that no one will even want to work for the government.

For Jerusalem has stumbled,
and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.

For the look on their faces bears witness against them;
they proclaim their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.

They glory in their ungodliness. They boast of their impurity. They strut their sin. It is the height of iniquity.

10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.

I3 never leave

Even in the midst of judgment, God knows how to bless and protect His people. Sometimes this is only seen in the perspective of eternity, but God assures us that the righteous will never share the same fate as the wicked. Abraham knew this principle well when he said to the Lord, “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

–David Guzik

God’s “shalls” must always be understood in their largest sense. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until a new day dawns, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it will be well with the righteous. It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better, for he is well fed—he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed—he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed—he dwells in God; he is well married—his soul is knit in bonds of marriage to Christ; he is well provided for—for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed—for heaven is his inheritance. It is well with the righteous—well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance.

O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we may laugh them all to scorn. Blessed be God for a faith that enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict Him. It is, says the Word, at all times well with you, righteous one; then, beloved, if you cannot see it, let God’s Word assure you; believe it on divine authority with more confidence than if your eyes and your feelings told it to you. Those God blesses are blessed indeed, and what His lip declares is truth most sure and steadfast.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.
12 My people—infants are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your guides mislead you
and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

13 The Lord has taken his place to contend;
he stands to judge peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
with the elders and princes of his people:

God speaks to the men of Judah:

“It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts.

16 The Lord said:

And God speaks to the women of Judah:

Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
and walk with outstretched necks,
glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
tinkling with their feet,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
the heads of the daughters of Zion,
and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

I3 Vogue

The fashion industry, with its emphasis on sexuality and luxury, is decimated, including jewelry, handbags, perfumes, accessories, clothing, belts, hats, scarves — as David Guzik quips, There must have been some good malls in Jerusalem!  But this description of what is important is a far cry from the instructions Peter gives to Christian women in 1 Peter 3:3-4:  Do not let your adornment be merely outward; arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword
and your mighty men in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
empty, she shall sit on the ground.

All the luxuries and fineries that the women used to impress each other and get a man — all are gone, replaced by ugliness and pain. The war has taken the men, and the women mourn their many losses.

_________________________

Music:

For all of you who, like the faithful ones in this chapter, are dealing with hard issues — you are surrounded by difficulties, your health is not good, your body tells you that you are old, your children are inattentive to you or to the Lord, you are in a financial crunch that seems not to end, you feel alone and stressed out, you wonder what the world is coming to, that sin is so acceptable and God so often mocked — to all of you, the Lord says:

“Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.  I am with you wherever you go.”

“My peace I leave with you.”

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

Selah sings it so beautifully  HERE.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Isaiah 3:10.    https://versaday.com/images/Months/1011/1105-ISA003010ENGKJV08000480ISP02263009000.jpg
Hebrews 13:5.    http://ymiblogging.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/cross2.jpg
Vogue.    http://cdni.condenast.co.uk/268×353/s_v/Vogue-June12_b_268x353.jpg

2072.) Isaiah 2

April 11, 2017

I2 sword

Isaiah 2  (ESV)

The Mountain of the Lord

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah now looks beyond the current chaos to the glorious kingdom of the Messiah.  In that day Jerusalem will be established as the religious and political capital of the world.  The Gentile nations will make pilgrimages to Zion for worship and for divine instruction.

–William MacDonald

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
    and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

I2 Mira Kunz

Luke 24:44-47   (NIV) 

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

Jesus peace

“Men yearn for peace, but they will not acknowledge the hopelessness
of their own efforts to achieve it.
It is only when the word of the Lord goes forth from Jerusalem,
when He Himself is reigning over the nations,
that lasting peace will come.”

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.

After painting the picture of the glory of the Messiah’s reign, Isaiah then challenges Judah (“house of Jacob”) to live in the Messiah’s reign right now.

The Day of the Lord

I3 day of the Lord

The term day of the Lord (used more than 25 times in the Bible) does not necessarily refer to one specific day. It speaks of “God’s time.” The idea is that now is the day of man, but the day of man will not last forever. One day, the Messiah will end the day of man and bring forth the day of the Lord.

–David Guzik

For you have rejected your people,
the house of Jacob,
because they are full of things from the east
and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,
and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
So man is humbled,
and each one is brought low—
do not forgive them!
10 Enter into the rock
and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty.
11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

Proverbs 18:12   (NIV)

Before a downfall the heart is haughty,   
   but humility comes before honor.

12 For the Lord of hosts has a day
against all that is proud and lofty,
against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
13 against all the cedars of Lebanon,
lofty and lifted up;
and against all the oaks of Bashan;
14 against all the lofty mountains,
and against all the uplifted hills;
15 against every high tower,
and against every fortified wall;
16 against all the ships of Tarshish,
and against all the beautiful craft.
17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
18 And the idols shall utterly pass away.
19 And people shall enter the caves of the rocks
and the holes of the ground,
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.

Revelation 6:16   (NIV) 

They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”

20 In that day mankind will cast away
their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
which they made for themselves to worship,
to the moles and to the bats,
21 to enter the caverns of the rocks
and the clefts of the cliffs,
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.
22 Stop regarding man
in whose nostrils is breath,
for of what account is he?

I2 God first

“Let us think more of God and less of man.  Come, let the Lord our God fill the whole horizon of our thoughts.  Let our love go forth to him; let us delight ourselves in him.  Let us trust in him that liveth for ever, in him whose promise never faileth, in him who will be with us in life, and in death, and through eternity.  Oh that we lived more in the society of Jesus, more in the sight of God!  We cannot spend our lives in seeking the smiles of men, for pleasing God is the one object we pursue.  Our hands, and our heads, and our hearts, and all that we have and are, find full occupation for the Lord, and therefore we must ‘Cease from man.’”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Music:

One of my favorites:  “Our God”  by Christ Tomlin.  Click  HERE  to listen.

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
sword.    http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/Isaiah2.4.jpg
pen and ink of Jerusalem, by Mira Kunz.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2576/3897158777_dd220fa8ba.jpg
His law is love.    http://s3.favim.com/orig/39/jesus-love-peace-Favim.com-325861.jpg
Joel 2.    http://shareaverse.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/joel-2-10-11.jpg?w=547
God First life.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/banner_3.jpg

2071.) Isaiah 1

April 10, 2017

I1 v16-17

Isaiah 1 (ESV)

This is the book of the prophecies of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, who ministered from about 740 to 680 b.c.  For about 20 years, he spoke to both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. After Israel’s fall to the Assyrians in 722 b.c., Isaiah continued to prophesy to Judah.

This period of Israel’s history is told in 2 Kings 15 through 21 and 2 Chronicles 26 through 33.  By this time, Israel had been in the Promised Land for almost 700 years.  The first 400 years in Canaan, Israel was ruled by judges, spiritual, military, and political leaders God raised up as the occasion demanded.  Then, for about 120 years, three kings reigned over all Israel: Saul, David, and Solomon.  But in 917 b.c. Israel had a civil war, and remained divided into two nations, Israel (to the north) and Judah (to the south) up until the time of Isaiah.

Up until the time of Isaiah, the northern nation of Israel had some 18 kings – all of them bad, rebellious against the Lord.  The southern nation of Judah had some 11 kings before Isaiah’s ministry, some good and some bad.

In the time of Isaiah, Israel was a little nation often caught in the middle of the wars between three superpowers: Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon.

As Isaiah’s ministry began, there was a national crisis in the northern nation of Israel.  The superpower of Assyria was about to engulf the nation of Israel.  During the span of his ministry as a prophet, the southern nation of Judah was faced with repeated threats from the larger surrounding nations.

–David Guzik

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

The Wickedness of Judah

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”

The whole universe is summoned to attend a trial with God as the Judge and with Judah and Jerusalem as defendants.

Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.

Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.

Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.

During the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah, the nation was attacked and pillaged by Israel, Syria, Edom, the Philistines, and Assyria (2 Chronicles 28). It was written of this period, For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord (2 Chronicles 28:19).

For all this, Judah would not repent. Their sin brought them great trouble, but they still preferred their sin, with all of its trouble, than submitting to the Lord God. In fact, 2 Chronicles 28:22 says, Now in the time of his distress King Ahaz became increasingly unfaithful to the Lord.

–David Guzik

If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.

I1 clean heart

These verses are alarming for us, I think.  All our good church attendance, our good deeds, our efforts for good Christian causes, our table graces, our prayers, our offerings, our worship — God says he is sick of them! — unless our hearts are truly turned to him.  W. E. Vine says, “Mere external religion is ever a cloak to cover iniquity.” 

How many times have I said the Lord’s Prayer at the close of a service, while thinking about what I would put on the table at home for lunch?  How many times have I done a good deed out of a resentful obligation rather than cheerfully for the Lord’s sake?  How many times have I said to someone, “I’ll pray for you!” and then promptly forgotten to do so?  How many times do I complain about petty annoyances instead of giving praise to God for his myriad blessings? 

Lord, open my eyes to what I am doing and thinking and saying that needs to be transformed into the likeness of your Son, Jesus.

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.

I1 scarlet
What a gracious invitation from our Lord!

19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

So we have a choice.  And I ask myself:  Which phrase more closely resembles my heart? —  “willing and obedient”  or  “refuse and rebel”?  Lord, help me be MORE willing and obedient to You!

The Unfaithful City

21 How the faithful city
has become a whore,
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
your best wine mixed with water.
23 Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow’s cause does not come to them.

24 Therefore the Lord declares,
the Lord of hosts,
the Mighty One of Israel:
“Ah, I will get relief from my enemies
and avenge myself on my foes.
25 I will turn my hand against you
and will smelt away your dross as with lye
and remove all your alloy.

Dross:

1.  Something regarded as worthless; rubbish.

2.  Foreign matter, dregs, or mineral waste, in particular scum formed on the surface of molten metal.

Alloy: 

1.  a substance composed of two or more metals, or of a metal or metals with a nonmetal, intimately mixed, as by fusion or electrodeposition.

2.  a less costly metal mixed with a more valuable one.

3.  admixture, as of good with evil.

4.  anything added that serves to reduce quality or purity.

26 And I will restore your judges as at the first,
and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
the faithful city.”

27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.

I1 wages of sin
29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks
that you desired;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen.
30 For you shall be like an oak
whose leaf withers,
and like a garden without water.
31 And the strong shall become tinder,
and his work a spark,
and both of them shall burn together,
with none to quench them.

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Music:

“Wash me and I shall be . . .”

Click  HERE  to hear Jonathan Lee’s  “White As the Snow.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
vs. 16-17.   http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/isaiah-11617_3044_1024x768.jpg
God judges.   https://biblicalproof.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/god-judges-his-people4.jpg
Create in me  . . . .     http://onemonthofwisdom.com/wisdomblog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Clean+Heart1.jpg
v. 18.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/79/17/6c/79176c4debd78b68e710dc16ddafe86e.jpg
wages of sin.   http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/122/4/d/romans_6_23_by_kcruss-d4ybxg0.jpg

1019.) Isaiah 66

March 28, 2013

I66 peace like a river

Isaiah 66   (ESV)

The Humble and Contrite in Spirit

The opening words of the last chapter of Isaiah were written to the unrepentant people of Israel.  They need not think that, in that condition, they can please God by building a temple for Him.  After all, He is enthroned in heaven with earth as His footstool.  The dwelling place He desires is the heart of a person who is humble and contrite:

–William MacDonald (and all following notes in red)

Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.

Those who are impenitent offend God by their religions observances.  When divorced from practical holiness, their sacrifices and offerings are crimes and abominations.  They can choose their hypocritical ways, but they cannot choose the consequences.  God will do that:

“He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood;
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them,
because when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes
and chose that in which I did not delight.”

I66 overcome

Those faithful, God-fearing Jews who tremble at His word will be persecuted by their own community.  The wicked persecutors will think that they are doing God service, as is evidenced by their pseudo-pious taunt, “Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy,” that is, your joy at being miraculously delivered.  But the Lord will intervene to shame their foes:

Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.

“The sound of an uproar from the city!
A sound from the temple!
The sound of the Lord,
rendering recompense to his enemies!

Rejoice with Jerusalem

“Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her she delivered a son.

I66 something new

Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
says the Lord;
“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
says your God.

I66 old-jerusalem-leonid-afremov

The day of Israel’s restoration will be a time of great rejoicing in Jerusalem:

10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.”

12 For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

I66 mother-comforting

“This is a peculiarly delightful metaphor. A father can comfort, but I think he is not much at home as the work. When God speaks about his pity, he compares himself to their father: ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth, them that fear him.’ But when he speaks about comfort, he selects the mother. When I have seen the little ones sick, I have felt all the pity in the world for them, but I did not know how to set to work to comfort them; but a mother knows by instinct how to do it.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

Final Judgment and Glory of the Lord

 I66 watch-the-lord-is-coming

The Lord’s Second Coming will mean the unleashing of His fiery indignation against all idolaters and rebels.  He sees them going through ceremonies to make themselves ritually clean, only to engage in the most abominable idolatrous practices.

15 “For behold, the Lord will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.

18 “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.

I66 Songs of Ascents

Psalm 126   (NIV)

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

21 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your offspring and your name remain.
23 From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the Lord.

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

The book of Isaiah closes with a sobering contrast, revealing the ultimate, eternal importance of this present life. Each life can choose its destiny: worship or the worm. Which is it for you?

–David Guzik

All this brings home the folly, futility and sinfulness of pursuing our own way, carrying out our own designs and turning after that in which God cannot take pleasure, instead of waiting upon Him, listening to His voice and delighting in the fulfillment of His will.  Through our walking with God He fulfills, and will fulfill, all the promises of His Word.  He responds to delighted confidence in Him, by adding an Amen to His assurance.  The peace of an obedient heart and a trusting spirit is that which enjoys the sunshine of His countenance and the calmness of holy communion with Him.

–W. E. Vine

THE END of the book of Isaiah.

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Music:

HERE  is Chris Rice singing an old favorite which matches up so beautifully to this chapter:  “It is Well with My Soul.”  The first words of the hymn are from v. 12 of this chapter — When peace like a river . . .   (The song finishes at 4:38.)

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
peace like a river.    http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i25/Conormacnessa/Religious/Isaiah66_12.jpg
I have overcome the world.    http://25.media.tumblr.com/12bc50b96a95c7ed02b2e9715e26b50a/tumblr_mio55jxZHE1qhmhdfo1_500.jpg
I will not cause pain.    http://tsjphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/259519997247405601_SpATKz9U_f-494×640.jpg
“Old Jerusalem” by Leonid Afremov.    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/old-jerusalem-leonid-afremov.jpg
mother comforting a sick child.    http://images2.parentsconnect.com/editorial_images/12/mother-comforting-sick-child-280×280.jpg?quality=0.6&height=200&width=200&
Watch therefore.    http://www.agodman.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/matt24-42-watch-the-lord-is-coming-1024×767.jpg
Song of ascents.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8Kd22dGSv50/UUEgsOwWE6I/AAAAAAAADA8/kNGy43HdWI0/s1600/Songs+of+Ascents.jpg